Sweet or Hot? Selecting the Right PaprikaIn the United States, paprika is defined as a sweet, dried, red powder, which may be made from any type of Capsicum annuum pepper that is non-pungent and has brilliant red color. However, in Hungary, paprika may very well be quite pungent.
Sweet Hungarian paprika is considered the best, but others are marketed with varying degrees of heat and color. It is the climate and soil that makes the Hungarian variety of capsicum (also referred to as pimiento) mild and sweet, resulting in the most desirable paprika. The quality of ground paprika also depends on whether or not the seeds and stems are ground in with the dried peppers.
Different varieties of capsicum chile pepper will produce from sweet to mild to spicy hot flavor. The peppers can be round, long or square, and may be green, yellow, orange, and/or bright red in color.
The Hungarian fruits for paprika are long and thin, as opposed to the smaller, more round ones used to make Spanish paprika. Once harvested, the fruit is completely dried and then ground into the rich, red paprika powder.
Paprika should be evenly and finely ground, with a shiny uniform color. The redder the color, the milder the paprika. Conversely, the more yellow the color, the stronger the flavor.
More about Paprika and Paprika Recipes:• Paprika Cooking Tips
• Paprika Selection - Choosing the Right Paprika for Recipes
• Papriika and Health
• Paprika History
• Paprika Recipes
Paprika Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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